100 Day Project: Postcards for All (or at least 100)!

Jan 22

Last Friday I avoided most social media, spending the day on self care and allowing myself to indulge in my sorrow at the end of the Obama Administration.

I did, though, manage to read about the 100 Day Project that started on January 21: Where Dreams and Darkness Meet. I knew in an instant that I wanted to participate, and I knew just as fast what I wanted to do:

Postcard Project Redux! My plan: every day for 100 days I will make a postcard and send it out into the world. Would you like one? Sign up here. I promise not to share your info! (And if you really love getting postcards, be sure to check out my friend Cara aka January One’s upcoming postcard project!)

With news of the new president’s desire to defund the arts and humanities (which Snopes reports as making up .006 of 2016’s federal spending–way to “make America great”), I want to send my own bits of art into the world. I’m pretty sure my focus will be on creating images to marry with facts (regular ol’ facts, not alternative facts) related to the many ways in which this administration has promised to isolate, ravage, and dumb down my country while at the same time taking away basic rights from so many groups.

Am I angry? You bet. But I’m using my anger to enact what Ghandi advised:

“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”

I attended the Sister Rally of the Women’s March on Washington in Hartford, CT, and I left it feeling even more motivated to continue the work I’ve been doing since the election (phone calls, letters, and emails to elected officials, sharing action information, teaching students how to write phone scripts and emails to their elected officials, etc.) and to aim to do even more. This project is one little doing even more.

I hope you’ll sign up and let me share a little bit of where dreams and darkness meet for me!

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Year of Creative Habits 2017: The Curious Cartographer

Jan 06

topographical-iceIt took a while for me to settle on this year’s creative habit. I first leaned towards a doll project. As a pushback against post-election ugliness, I wanted to do something that reminded me of childhood, something with an element of pretty, of sweet.

But, in the way of creative projects, signs revealed to me what I would do instead. Signs like ice at the edge of the beaver pond that Oskar and I cross almost daily. Ice that looks a bit like a topographical map.

If maps are on your mind. And guess what? They’ve been on my mind. Maps as a way of telling stories, maps as a way to remember, maps as family history and myth.

And so I am excited to embark on my 2017 Year of Creative Habits project: The Curious Cartographer*.

Here’s the goal: each week I’ll research and produce a map that tells a story from my life, my family history, world events, my imagination. To ensure my success, I’ve set up a weekly system, starting on Saturdays:

Day 1: Decide what story to map and decide on a map style.

Day 2: Determine any landmarks to be included and gather reference pictures. Make reference map if mapping actual places.

Day 3: Sketch landmarks.

Day 4: Draw map; add color.

Day 5: Add landmarks and any additional color

Day 6: Ink and letter.

What about day 7? I’m leaving myself a little wiggle room in case any of the drawing, inking, or lettering takes longer than I expect. My goal is to produce 52 maps this year, and I’m sure this system will change and be refined.

Want to see my first map?

map1

You can follow my progress on Instagram–I’ll post every day using #curiouscartographer2017. And you can check out other Year of Creative Habits projects here.

Tell me about your creative projects for 2017, willya?

 

 

 

 

*Not drawn to scale.

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Lesson from a Failed Project

Jan 04

Remember that Postcard Project back in the innocent days of 2015? Maybe one landed in your mailbox? That was me, making a thing every day and feeling pretty dang proud of myself a year ago.

qb2Remember last year, how I purchased a cool daily agenda, came up with a kickin’ project name, and then failed? Well, you might not remember the Quotidian Bones fail because I never really talked about it. I kept hoping I’d get my QB mojo back. I let the unexpected loss of a good friend derail me. I gave in to the glum, the ennui that sometimes follows loss. I’m not here to bring you down, though. Nope. It’s a new year, and there’s a new project.

A project born from the lessons learned by 2016’s fail. It’s not like I didn’t meet up with loss in 2015. The difference was that in 2015 I used my project to help me through the loss. Last year? I didn’t want to tell the stories of losing Kurt. I shied away from them. I have weeks where I drew a thick black line on the page.

And you know what? I wish I’d kept doing that. Kept making marks. Because I know eventually I would have been bored by the thick black lines and would have wanted to make something else. That’s how freewriting works, and I’m a fan of freewriting. Even if I have nothing to write, I just keep writing. Sometimes I write “this is dumb” a zillion times before my mind softens and something more interesting emerges. In 2017 I want to remember to transfer the principles of freewriting to my project.

Oh, the project? It’s a doozy! I’ll tell you all about it on Friday (the Quotidian Bone picture is a hint!).

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Craft Friday: Prepping and Provisioning

Nov 23

pieOops! I was so fixed on prepping and provisioning yesterday that I forgot to post! Well, here’s a double dose of Craft Friday tips, then.

Prepping

Get that yarn wound. Wash and prep the fabric. Trace and cut patterns. Dig out the needles, the glue gun, the bag of embroidery thread. In other words, don’t spend precious crafting time on Friday getting your supplies ready. In between zesting oranges for cranberry sauce and rolling out pie dough, take a little moment here and there to do what you must to hit the crafting ground running!

Provisioning

The last thing I want to do on Craft Friday = food prep. I’ve done enough all week, thankyouverymuch! But I also want to have something to serve Craft Friday peeps who swing by to stitch with me…something that is not left overs. Sure, leftovers are terrific, but a little change is, too. Thursday night, after the dishes are dried and the food’s tucked away in the fridge, I’ll toss together a slow cooker lentil stew for Friday’s lunch.

And I have no doubt that the pie leftovers won’t be entirely unwelcome!

Read about Craft Friday’s start here, and check out Craft Friday posts from the last three years!

Want to join? Here are some ways:

Be sure to tag your social media posts #CraftFriday. Are you in? Let me know in the comments!

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Craft Friday: Gathering

Nov 21

suppliesIt’s one of my favorite weeks of the year! Thanksgiving is a terrific holiday: who can’t use a little extra dose of gratitude these days? AND Thanksgiving also means: Craft Friday!

Every day this week, I’ll post tips to make your own Craft Friday a fun-filled, productive day.

Today’s tip: Gather Supplies!

Once you’ve figured out what you want to make (check out the Craft Friday Pinterest board for ideas), take a supply inventory–what do you have? What do you need?

Stop by your local yarn, fabric, or other supply store (hey, just a thought–rather than get supplies at a big box craft store, support the indies near you. That’s a total Craft Friday rebellion move!) and get what you need! I placed an order with my favorite fabric shop and have been to Marji’s several times for yarny supplies.

Make sure to print off any patterns that you’ll use ahead of time, too.

Take a gander at previous Craft Friday posts, and let me know what you’re planning to make…unless it’s super duper secret, and you don’t want little pitchers with big eyes to read about it!

Want to join? Here are some ways:

Be sure to tag your social media posts #CraftFriday. Are you in? Let me know in the comments!

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Craft Friday Draws Nigh!

Nov 04

craft-friday-collageReady for our annual rebellion against Black Friday? Once I accepted that summer is, in fact, over, (a few inches of sloppy snow like we had last week will drive that point home) my thoughts turned to plotting holiday gift projects. I’ve ordered a few gifts from indy makers, and I’m scouring Ravelry and Pinterest for diy gift ideas.  Gale introduced me to the idea of hygge, and now all I can think is that Craft Friday, especially when spent with like-minded crafters, is as hygge as it gets!

Read about Craft Friday’s start here, and check out Craft Friday posts from the last three years!

Want to join? Here are some ways:

Be sure to tag your social media posts #CraftFriday. Are you in? Let me know in the comments!

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Slow Fashion October: Week 1

Oct 04

p333

It is easy for me to trace the genesis of my interest in slow fashion: participating in Project 333. I started in October 2010 (this picture is from day 38 of my first round), and paring down my wardrobe changed my life. I’ve always been gaga for clothes-the texture, the drape, the fun of pairing odd things together.  In fact, some of my earliest memories are of petting my aunt’s fur coat and rubbing my fingers over a bit of velvet. You can read my Project 333 posts here.

After a few years of maintaining a minimalist wardrobe, I switched to 52 items for the entire year. Around the same time, I realized that my goal was to create an ethical and elegant wardrobe. I defined what I meant by ethical elegance, and slowly, slowly, I have worked, stitch by stitch, to build my skills in making my own clothes. I dream of a wardrobe made entirely by me and by indie makers whose practices resonate with me.

Slow fashion means timelessness. It means understanding my personal style and investing in the skills I need to make that ethical elegant wardrobe a reality. I have a long way to go, not only skill-wise (though I’m so proud of my improvements in the last year), but also in determining how far I will drill down into my ethics. I’m happiest using made-in-the-USA organically-grown fabrics, though I am using plenty of fabrics outside of that goal. I want to know where my clothes come from. I want to know who made them.  I want to strive for my fashion choices to have little impact on the world.

I will be teaching a themed Composition II class in the spring titled “TEXTiles: Writing About Slow Fashion” and this month I hope to not only build my skills just that much more, but also to find some excellent resources to inspire my students in their own slow fashion journeys. I am so grateful to Karen for organizing great post topics for the month, and I’m looking forward to digging deeper into slow fashion this month.

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